Monday 9 March 2015

“Claims that we live in an era of limited resources fail to mention that these resources happen to be less limited now than ever before in human history.” 
Paul Farmer, Author of Pathologies of Power: Health Human Rights and the New War on the Poor 

The First 1000 days are critical but who should pay?

What are the best ways to support the first 1000 days of children’s lives and engage with youth in Rotorua and the wider Bay of Plenty?  Baytrust has undertaken broad community consultation, along with a review of international research evidence to identify key areas that work to support children under five and youth living in their region. It’s a robust piece of research that has real value to the people of Rotorua/Bay of Plenty. When we drill down to the recommendations though the learnings are nothing we haven’t heard before. There are plenty of reports that highlight the absence of some pretty fundamental needs and supports to a whole lot of children and youth in New Zealand. At NZCCSS, the question the report raises is who should pay for public health and social services? Philanthropic organisations are presented as a possible payer? But is this what New Zealanders want? And if philanthropists pick up the bill, or part of, for complex social issues that the government/public sector once thought its sole responsibility, what then is the role of government and our public sector? Is their value undermined in the eyes of the public? Much more public debate is needed on these questions before we head our communities down a track that has no exit.

Growing up in New Zealand

A new policy brief by the Growing up in New Zealand longitudinal found that half of the families that had babies five years ago suffered material hardship during the babies first year of life. Here’s a few facts from the report
  •  13% had used foodbanks or food grants (up from 8% in 2008)
  •  50% of families were forced to buy cheaper food so they could pay other things they needed
  •  13% had gone without fresh fruit and vegetables so they could pay other expenses 
  •  18% put up with feeling cold to save money
This bleak picture supports feedback received from member agencies across the country on the struggles family experience juggling housing, food and electricity costs.

Translating research into policy

University of Otago Scientist Professor Richie Poulton has just been appointed Chief Science Advisor, at the Ministry of Social development. Professor Pulton seems to have all the right credentials but evidence-based research is one thing, appropriately funding the implementation of services and supports, and governments being bold enough to support spending decisions some of their constituents might not like, is quite another. So good luck!

Wake up to Homelessness

New Zealanders have begun to wake up to homelessness and the damage it does to children and adults alike. Media reports across the country regularly cover the impact of homelessness in all its dimensions. Just in case anyone has missed out on what is happening under their noses, Wellington recently hosted the New Zealand Coalition to End Homelessness conference, in which delegates from local and central government pledged to end homelessness in Wellington. At the conference two strategies were presented as Best Practice responses to ending homelessness: Wellington City’s Te Mahana strategy and a draft Homelessness Solutions Framework.  Let’s aim for a similar model for action around the country.

Here are some links to recent stories on homelessness around the country

Monte Cecilia Housing Trust is one of Auckland’s biggest emergency housing suppliers. Listen to David Steemson’s report and hear the difference safe, secure, and supportive emergency housing brings to the life of just one family. Hear also the financial pressures this places on the trust, and about its plans for housing in the future.

An insight into the Experience of Rough Sleeping in central AucklandDon’t miss this one! Auckland City Mission and Lifewise led this research which blows misconceptions about homelessness and young people. Read the ‘triggers and coping pathways’ (Pg 4/5) and follow ‘the journey from a young person’s perspective exploring their actions, thoughts and feelings’ (Pg 7). It’s powerful stuff and demonstrates our young people need so much more support and understanding from those lucky enough to live in safe, secure homes.

Marlborough’s invisible homelessness – Auckland is not the only place people are homeless. Read this article about Janette Walker’s accidental discovery of homeless people living in flax bushes.

Spotlight on disability housing in the UK. - New Zealand isn’t the only country with a housing crisis. A recent Guardian Newspaper article highlights the difficulty families with children with disabilities have finding appropriate housing in both the private and social housing sector.

Universal healthcare is the affordable dream

Amartya Sen's  article Universal healthcare: the affordable dream sets out clearly a rationale on the affordability of a universally available public funded health care system when seen over the long-term and from the perspective of both individual and societal well-being and productivity. It’s an inspirational read particularly at a time when ‘austerity’ is hailed by many to be the new health paradigm, and questions around universal access to services versus targeted access are increasingly raised here in New Zealand.

Older People

New Prize for innovation in older people services

A US$150,000 (NZ$200,000) annual prize has been launched to reward the world’s best advances that enhance quality of life for older people. The Ryman Prize is an annual cash prize aimed at rewarding excellence by creating the equivalent of a Nobel Prize for innovation in the health of older people. An international jury has been convened to consider applications, and the inaugural prize will be awarded in August by Nobel Prize-winning biophysicist Dr Erwin Neher.
The prize was launched at the University of Auckland by Prime Minister John Key.

ComVoice Blog

A Smooth Year by Raewyn Fox, Chief Executive, New Zealand Federation of Family Budgeting Services
Undermining public safety by Phil McCarthy, National Director, Prison Fellowship New Zealand

Finally, Some Good Sorts that Caught Our Eye here at NZCCSS

New Zealand has an abundance of good sorts. Here are two inspiring stories that caught our eye here at NZCCSS.

Shirley Howden - has an amazing personal journey that has taken her from Central Otago to volunteering in the squalor of Bangkok and back to Southland and a new path..

John Horan- is employed by St Saviour's Anglican Church in Kaitaia as the co-ordinator of Youth Ignite which works with youth to improve the lives of high school-age teenagers. "Many of these kids have had a terrible start to life but they have a lot going for them, if we can show them how to reach it and nurture it. That's what we're doing here, and the positive way most of them respond makes all the hard work and emotion more worthwhile than anything else I have ever done." Great work!

Rwanda Overtakes New Zealand on Closing Gender Pay Gap

Jackie Blue calls on employers to step up: "The gender pay gap is in part, a reflection of the segregation in the labour market where women are over represented in lower paid work (often part time and insecure) and under-represented in higher paid jobs. The median hourly pay gender gap has largely plateaued at 10% for the last 5 years. While there seems to be a lot of focus to move women into more senior and higher paying roles, there’s a very strong argument to pay greater attention to the needs of women in lower paid jobs too."
Meanwhile MP Clare Curran offers a damning report on pay equity in NZ, with Rwanda moving ahead of NZ in international rankings for the gender pay gap.

Susan St John says “Women’s inequality is systemic, with its origins in the traditional 20 century assumption of dependence of women on men, the invisibility of the women’s work not just of
reproduction, but of nurturing others and stitching together the social fabric so that men are supported in the ‘big important’ jobs they do.”

What’s on

Caritas Seminar - Hungry Students in Catholic Schools

Caritas is hosting a seminar on this topic on Monday 16 March at 5.30pm at St Mary’s College Hall, Thorndon. Caritas researcher Kahurangi Dey will present initial findings of a small scale survey of the provision of food in Catholic schools, followed by a panel of speakers and a discussion. All are welcome.

Inequality for All : Screening and panel discussion, 29 March 

Inequality for All, an award-winning documentary starring economist Robert Reich, examines the effects of growing income inequality on the lives of ordinary US citizens. This special screening will be followed by a panel discussion between economist Geoff Bertram, Guardian commentator Morgan Godfery, and Philippa Howden-Chapman, professor of public health at the University of Otago. Chair of the panel is Max Rashbrooke, journalist and editor of Inequality: A New Zealand Crisis. Responding to the points raised in the film, the panellists will discuss the significance of increased inequality for New Zealanders. Tickets can be purchased from Light House Cuba. Book online on the Light House Cuba website - no booking fee required!

Living Wage Wellington Get Together

A regional get together and informal AGM will be held on 12 March 5-7 at an inner city venue TBC. Food, music, local reports - more fun than business! Contact

Living Wage Newtown Community Day

Join our march from Newtown markets to the Community Centre, lead by Brass Razoo Solidarity Band. 21 March Midday-5pm, Fun for all the whanau, Speakers include Karlo Mila Contact

SSPA Client Led Quality Improvement Seminars 

Wellington - Wednesday 25 March 2015, 9am - 4.30pm, St John's in the City
Christchurch - Thursday 26 March 2015, 9am - 4.30pm, St John of God Waipuna
Auckland - Friday 27 March 2015, 9am - 4.30pm, Lifewise New Lynn


“Racing with and against the machine: changes in occupational skill composition in an era of rapid technological advances” Ever wondered about the impact of technology on job creation, then read this article but be prepared to be concerned. The working world as we know it is about to change.

No comments: